Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
Chris Carpenter's injury problems mean he likely won't pitch in 2013, changing the dynamic of the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation and potentially ending a great career.
Surprise Spring Training press conferences are rarely a good omen, and the St. Louis Cardinals' Tuesday conference was no exception: It concerned the possible retirement of Chris Carpenter. John Mozeliak got right to the point: Carpenter has apparently had trouble throwing bullpen sessions in his attempt to get back into game shape, and he'll be shut down pending a possible medical evaluation. But Mozeliak didn't sound very optimistic on the prospect; he said he expects Carpenter won't pitch in 2013. Carp himself wasn't at the press conference; Mozeliak and Mike Matheny fielded questions.
The Cardinals' ominous silence and list of stipulations—it isn't a signing, it is a player, he's not wearing a hat—led Bernie Miklasz, among others, to speculate the press conference would be about Chris Carpenter. A press conference about Chris Carpenter in the middle of February led everybody else to speculate it was about an untimely Chris Carpenter retirement.
And that's how Twitter works, basically. By the time of the actual press conference we'd had 15 minutes—that's about four years in internet time—to process the idea that Chris Carpenter, one of the Cardinals' best pitchers ever, and surely their best ever to lose a rib in midseason, would be forced to retire.
In a Cardinals career that spanned 10 years and four lost seasons Carpenter went 95-44 with an ERA of 3.07 in the regular season and—while he was at it—10-4 with an ERA of 3.00 in the postseason. That's pretty good. He's a great pitcher and a remarkable worker and a very angry man, and if he can't come back he'll be missed.